The Woodridge volleyball team would love nothing more than to get another crack at Norton in this week's Tallmadge Division II district tournament.
The Bulldogs lost to the Panthers on the road Oct. 6 in a Portage Trail Conference Metro Division match 27-25, 25-23, 25-22.
"It was a close match. It was back and forth the whole way," Woodridge head coach Melinda Hosford said. "We were up 23-22 in the second set but just couldn't hold the lead. The match could have gone either way. We really wanted to win it."
On Oct. 11 in its regular-season finale, Woodridge defeated host Springfield, another PTC Metro rival, 27-25, 25-17, 25-11.
Against Norton, senior outside hitter Makayla Sypherd had eight kills, three aces, 18 digs and two blocks. Senior outside hitter Breanna Arnett had 13 kills and 17 digs.
"From the start, neither Makayla nor Breanna had their usual number of kills because Norton dug up a lot of their hits," Hosford said. "Norton is a really good coverage team in the back row."
Senior middle hitter Hannah Fitzsimmons had three kills, six digs, four aces and six blocks.
"Hannah has been stepping up strong at the net as of late," Hosford said. "She was swinging harder and moving quicker to cover the blocks. She's quite hot right now."
Junior defensive specialist Ella Lathem totaled three assists, two digs, five aces and four blocks.
"Ella did a nice job," said the coach. "It was probably her best match all season."
Sophomore middle hitter Skyler Takacs had two kills and three digs, while junior right side hitter Alyssa Smith amassed three digs and an ace. Freshman middle hitter Jacierra Arnett had five digs.
Junior setter Kaela Folatko had eight assists and two digs before illness forced her to give way to sophomore Brayden Wigal the last two sets. Wigal, usually a hitter but who filled in for Folatko as the setter, had 16 assists, two kills and three digs.
In the win over Springfield, Woodridge started slowly but soon cruised its way to victory.
Takacs had a kill, two aces, six digs and two assists.
"Skyler had some good hits," said Hosford. "She's really started working on hitting stronger, she's quicker and she's not afraid to hit the deck. She led us from points 16 to 22 on her serve in the second set. She had some great serves."
Sypherd had 13 kills, two assists, an ace and nine digs, while Arnett had six kills, two aces, seven digs and a block.
Fitzsimmons totaled six kills, two aces, a dig and two blocks. Folatko had four kills and 21 assists.
Junior middle hitter Celena Whitely had two aces and seven digs, while Smith had a pair of aces and two digs.
Hosford said Arnett, Wigal, junior Francis Currier and freshman Lily Bowman all covered the back of the court very well.
Woodridge is seeded eighth in the 12-team Tallmadge tournament. The Bulldogs will play fourth-seeded Archbishop Hoban in a sectional semifinal Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m.
"I feel we have a shot at beating Hoban," said Hosford. "If my girls are on, if they're strong mentally and physically, there are not a lot of teams that can stop them. I'm hoping they're ready for a tough battle and go in there and fight with an aggressive attitude."
If Woodridge can pull the upset, the Bulldogs would get another shot at Norton in the sectional final. The match would be played on Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m.